United Technologies said Sunday it had offered to buy Diebold for $2.63 billion, taking its bid public after the maker of automated teller...

Share story

United Technologies said Sunday it had offered to buy Diebold for $2.63 billion, taking its bid public after the maker of automated teller machines, electronic security systems and voting machines declined to discuss a merger for two years.

United Technologies is offering $40 a share, a 66 percent premium to Diebold’s share price Friday of $24.12. Diebold’s board last refused to discuss a buyout Feb. 21, letters from United Technologies show.

Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies is parent company of jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator and Sikorsky Aircraft.

Diebold, based in North Canton, Ohio, has a strong presence in China’s ATM market, where United Technologies is eager to expand its presence.

Lockheed Martin

Machinists OK three-year pact

Lockheed Martin averted a possible strike at eight plants in five states, including one that builds the F-22 fighter, after a union representing about 6,000 machinists voted to accept the company’s three-year contract offer.

Union members in different regions voted to ratify three similar offers from Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed. The vote heads off the possibility Lockheed would face its third strike in the past six years at the Marietta, Ga., facility, which builds the F-22.

The agreement gives workers a $2,000 ratification bonus and a 10 percent wage increase over the life of the contract. The accord, which also features a 17 percent boost in monthly pension benefits, runs from 2008 to 2011.

Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 workers nationwide, and reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.

Intel

Atom chip targeted for “netbooks”

Intel announced Sunday a new chip family, the Intel Atom, it hopes will aid development of new compact, low-cost wireless Internet computers known as “netbooks.”

The chips are designed for devices that require both little power and a low price, and range in size from a handheld gadget to a small, lightweight notebook computer.

Intel is not saying how much the new chips will cost, but the devices based on them are expected to sell for less than $300, analysts say. The chips are expected to ship in the second quarter.

The new chips measure less than 25 square millimeters, making it Intel’s most compact and lowest-power processor yet.

Economy

Credit crisis rated top economic threat

In a survey being released today, 34 percent of the members of the National Association for Business Economics ranked financial-market turmoil from subprime-loans defaults as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy over the next two years.

That compares with 18 percent of the members in the August survey, when the most serious threat was seen as terrorism and the conflicts in the Middle East.

The questioning of 259 economists took place during the first two weeks of February.

The survey found that only 48 percent of those questioned believed the Federal Reserve’s policies were “about right.”

That was the lowest reading in the past two years and compared with 72 percent in the August survey that said the Fed was doing a good job.

Of those unhappy with Fed policy, 34 percent said the central bank was lowering rates too much; 13 percent said it was not cutting rates fast enough.

AT&T

Media deal involves Hollywood, VCs

Hollywood’s talent shop, the William Morris Agency, is announcing today it will team with AT&T and venture-capital firms Accel Partners and Venrock to invest in Southern California digital-media startups.

The deal is a sign of how quickly online and mobile entertainment is transforming wireless carriers.

AT&T is not looking exclusively for content; the likes of CBS, ESPN and NBC already provide much of that for cellphones.

Instead, it is hoping to invest in technologies that will make it easier to run ads on cellphones, as well as to nurture social networks like Facebook and MySpace, which have migrated to handheld devices.

Airbus

Emirates A380 to fly to N.Y., London

Emirates, the biggest customer of Airbus’ A380 superjumbo, will use the double-decker planes on nonstop flights linking its Dubai base with New York, London, Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand.

Emirates will start A380 flights to New York on Oct. 1, the state-owned carrier said Sunday. Service to London Heathrow Airport will begin Dec. 1 and a route to both Sydney and Auckland will start next Feb. 1.

A380 commercial service started in October on Singapore Air’s Singapore-Sydney route. Emirates has 58 A380s on order.

Yankee Group

Cellphones gain as landlines lose

An estimated 33 million American adults use only a cellphone, according to Yankee Group, a technology research and consulting company based in Boston.

As many as 15 percent of U.S. adults used only a cellphone last year, up from 10 percent of adults in 2006.

The company projects that from 2007 to 2011, the number of landline phone lines will fall from 93.8 million to 78.8 million, while the number of cellphone plans will grow from 188.7 million to 214.5 million.

Some of the lost lines were secondary lines for faxes or dial-up Internet access, analysts said.

Nevertheless, Verizon and AT&T “are fighting tooth and nail to save their landline customer base,” said Patrick Monaghan, senior analyst in consumer research at Yankee Group.

The companies are seeking to keep customers by bundling home phone service with cellular, Internet and cable-TV service.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service